I have to have shoulder surgery for the umpteenth time. This time they’re going to repair the rotator cuff, sink some screws into one bone, and then—if I understood the doctor correctly—scrape some of another bone away down to the marrow to allow stem cells to work their magic. This is, I believe, a procedure that was developed during the Spanish Inquisition and is still being used today by those fun-loving enforcers in the Mexican drug cartels. I’ve had varying degrees of shoulder surgery before and it is never fun, but that “scraping away” of the bone thing almost made me decide to cancel the whole thing.
But it was the forms I had to fill out that really got my attention. They gave me a big envelope and instructions to return the completed forms on the day of the surgery, so when I got home I opened the thing up and I swear the very first words that caught my eye (they were in bold font, after all) were, “Which is better – a living will or a durable power of attorney?” It then went on to talk about things like, “incapacitated,” “mentally or physically unable to choose or communicate wishes,” “unable to make decisions…”
Uh, excuse me. I thought this was going to be a relatively simple one-day procedure. You know, in and out, done thousands of times, nothing to worry about, routine, piece of cake… Did I miss something? Do you know something I don’t know, doc? Could we maybe talk about this a little, try physical therapy first? Is this part of some long-term scheme you’ve concocted so you can marry my pretty wife and move to the south of France? Has she been upping my life insurance policy? I might be able make do with just one arm after all.